Canton’s Journey to The Hock
By Reagan Vozzella
Well, everyone, it’s officially comp season. The Canton High School Varsity Cheerleading Team has been preparing their routine for quite some time now, and on Sunday at Hocks, it’ll be time to show it off for the first time all season.
The CHS cheer team is competing in the Hockomock League, meaning they’ll be up against 12 schools in Southeastern Massachusetts including Attleboro, Foxboro, Franklin, King Philip, Mansfield, Milford, North Attleboro, Oliver Ames, Stoughton, and Taunton.
After interviewing a few athletes on the team, it is clear that they have truly put blood, sweat, and tears into this season so far- literally. I had the chance to speak with my teammates earlier this week to discuss our thoughts on this weekend’s competition. “My expectations for the team at Hocks are to do the best we can and practice as much as we can before,” Says senior captain Julia Morrissey. “Although the practices are tough, it is going to have the most amazing outcome in the end. I think the hardest part of competing in the hock league is our competition. The teams vary from amazing to not so good, and our team being right in the middle of those is a tough spot to compete in.” Teams need a score of 66 points to qualify for a spot to compete for the regional championship title, and from there teams need an 85 to qualify for States- which is possible, but not always easy.
The Hockomock League is known for its straightforward judging for scoring. For example, for stunting, every stunt that falls is a five point deduction- and for every cheerleader that hits the mat when that stunt comes down is another three points deducted from your overall score. So by then, just dropping one stunt and having let’s just say two girls fall and hit the mat, that already drops your score in perfect routine from 100 down to an 89. And, that’s without deductions for poor technique like things as simple as sloppy arm placement in motions and un-pointed toes in jumps. It’s said to be the most competitive cheerleading league in Massachusetts.
“I'm expecting that we just do everything we can to make all of our hard work and practice worthwhile. Even if it is not perfect, I want everyone to feel like they played an important role and accomplished something in these past two months. I think that until this week we have held back a bit at practice due to lots of setbacks, including injuries and nerves. We also had to start from the very bottom, but we are finally at a place where almost everybody is on the same page for the first time since September. Although it will be worth it in the end, this week is going to be very straining mentally and physically.” This was junior captain Shanon McGrann’s response to being asked what she is expecting from the team this weekend, as well as how practices have been going leading up to competition. “I think the most challenging part of competing in the Hockomock league is that many of the other teams have lots of athletes who come from serious cheer backgrounds which has given them a step above and a head start. Being a team that is relatively new to the sport, we have to work unimaginably hard to be able to put up a fight against these teams”
Their routine consists of a cheer with stunts they’ve never showcased before, and an entire two minute routine consisting of pyramid, jumps, tumbling, dance, also their partner stunts which has been one of the teams biggest challenges to hit this season.
As a senior and captain of this team myself, I believe that we need to give this routine our all. You get two minutes and thirty seconds to leave it all out on that mat. It’s not as easy as some people think. It’s not just cheering, yelling the loudest, making your words sharp and clear, hitting motions. It’s staying on the counts. It’s dancing, tumbling, throwing multiple difficult stunts, jumping. It’s proper technique, keeping everyone safe, trying to catch your breath to finish this routine as strong as possible- all within two minutes, it requires a lot of energy. It’s really fast-paced. We’ve had some injuries, we’ve had some nerves, and we’ve had some days that were better than others, but we have been practicing everyday for the past two months all for this moment- to show what a lot of people don't usually see from us. I have a lot of faith in us and I know that no matter what, we are incredibly proud of ourselves and we’ve worked really hard for this.
This Sunday November 7th, Canton High Varsity Cheerleading is scheduled to take the mat at Milford High School at 12:55pm.